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Recognize Signs of Alcoholism

Alcohol abuse or alcohol use disorder is a condition where an individual is preoccupied with alcohol and cannot control the drinking behavior despite its negative effects. 

Uncontrolled alcohol abuse more often than not leads to alcoholism, whereby an addicted person continues to drink despite the habit causing social, career, or relationship problems. 

The situation gets worse as more alcohol is needed to achieve the same effect, which can drain finances and sink an individual deeper into the pit of addiction. 

If you’re still reading, chances are you want to know more about alcohol use disorder and how it manifests in an individual (whether yourself or a loved one). 

To help you out, we’ll discuss some of the symptoms of an alcoholic and what you can do to prevent the situation from escalating further. 

Ready? Then let’s dive right in. 

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Who Is An Alcoholic?

An alcoholic is an individual struggling with alcohol use disorder(AUD) or alcoholism. In other words, an alcoholic has an insatiable desire to consume alcohol despite its negative impact on his or her life. 

Persons with alcohol use disorder cannot function without consuming alcohol and tend to experience severe withdrawal in case they reduce or suddenly stop taking alcohol. 

And although moderate consumption of alcohol doesn’t cause physical or physiological harm, it can gradually develop into AUD if consumption levels increase over time. 

What Makes Someone an Alcoholic?

Alcohol abuse usually starts as a harmless habit before it takes over one’s life.

Consuming alcohol regularly often leads to alcohol use disorder as it disrupts the balance and function of two neurotransmitters in the brain; gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate

Glutamate plays the important role of stimulating the nervous system, while GABA is in charge of impulsiveness. 

Excessive drinking in the medium and long-term negatively alters the levels of these neurochemicals, thereby leading to a craving for alcohol in order for the body to feel good. 

Therefore, the more you consume alcohol, the more GABA and glutamate levels are altered, thereby increasing your tolerance and likelihood of developing alcohol addiction.

What Are The Signs and Symptoms Of An Alcoholic

Inability to limit alcohol consumption: One of the main signs that you (or a loved one) is turning into an alcoholic is constant drinking. What started as occasional or binge drinking now becomes uncontrollable as you must drink in order to function. 

Loss of interest in other hobbies: Alcoholics often find themselves disinterested in hobbies that previously made their days. You’ll know a friend is becoming an alcoholic if he ditches your usual hangouts and instead prefers spending time at the bar with his ‘true’ friends. 

An insatiable urge to drink: Another sign of alcoholism is the urge to drink every second, minute, or hour of the day. You’ll still feel the urge to drink despite having one for the road. 

The need for more alcohol to achieve a high effect: Over time, two to three bottles will no longer be enough. The body will need more alcohol to achieve the desired effect, which translates to more cash spent or a switch to distilled alcoholic brands with higher ABV. 

Alcohol-related problems:You’ll know your alcohol dependence is getting out of hand if your excessive drinking habit gets you in trouble with the law (DUI), at work, or even at home with your spouse. Heavy drinking will blur your judgment and land you in problems you’d otherwise avoid when sober. 

Irritability when alcohol isn’t available: Occasional drinkers can do without alcohol. However, people with alcohol use disorder will get irritable when alcohol isn’t available at a social gathering or if someone throws away their hidden drinks. 

Prioritizing drinking over other responsibilities: Another sign that you’re becoming excessively dependent on alcohol is when it becomes more important than other roles or responsibilities you may have. 

Experiencing withdrawal symptoms after your last drink: You’ll know you have an alcohol use disorder if alcohol withdrawal symptoms start hours after your last drink. This should be a cause for alarm, and you should consider receiving professional assistance. 

Making excuses for drinking habits: Alcoholics will do anything to protect their excessive drinking behavior from judgment–even when the signs of alcoholism are apparent. Some of the common excuses for drinking include dealing with stress or the need to relax. 

Blackouts or short-term memory loss: Most alcoholics tend to experience short-term memory loss after sessions when they’ve drunk too much. It’s also common for a person dealing with alcohol addiction to pass out at an establishment when indulging in drinks. 

What Are The Risk Factors Of Alcoholism?

Genetics: The risk of alcoholism is higher for people with a family history of alcohol or substance abuse. Therefore, if you have a parent or close relative who is an alcoholic, then you’re likely to develop alcohol use disorder compared to others. 

Starting early: People who start binge drinking at an early age are at higher risks of becoming alcoholics compared to those who start late. 

Mental health issues: Victims of mental health problems like anxiety or depression are a lot more likely to develop alcohol dependency than those without. 

Social factors: Your immediate environment also plays a huge role in whether or not you become an alcoholic. Some societies or families portray drinking as glamorous and, as such, indirectly promote alcohol consumption from an early age. 

Should I Seek Treatment For Alcoholism? 

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Don't go through the process of recovery alone. There are people who can help you with the struggle you're facing. Get in touch with one today.

Make a Call

On most occasions, people exhibiting two or more signs of alcoholism need help to deal with the condition. 

The worst part about alcohol addiction is people realize its negative effects when it’s too late. The good news, however, is that it’s never too late to seek addiction treatment for alcohol use disorder. 

All you’ll need is a good support system and professional assistance to overcome alcohol addiction and reclaim your life. 

The trick is to start treatment as soon as possible before the addiction becomes severe.

 Worried about dealing with potentially severe withdrawal symptoms? Fret not as you can count on a licensed addiction treatment facility to administer medication-assisted treatment that makes the withdrawal process a lot smoother (and bearable). 

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